Matthew Frank: Will Real Marriage Please Stand Up?


Over at National Review Online, Matthew Franck comments on the debate between Sherif Gergis and Jason Steort over what marriage is:

Steorts then turns to propose that we "now write our positive marriage law on a tabula rasa [a blank slate]." These are startling words to read in the flagship magazine of American conservatism. Conservatives are generally loath to treat any vital question as open to being addressed in tabula rasa terms. The slate is not blank; nature and history have done their work from time immemorial. Tabulae rasae are what judges, unfortunately, think they see (or convince themselves they are seeing, or pretend to see) when they are intent on remaking society with the blunt tools of constitutional jurisprudence. We should instead seek an understanding of what nature and history–not abstractions about yearning for “maximal experiential unions”–have to teach us about marriage. This, I think, Sherif Girgis is attempting, and with considerable success.